Here are some reasons set out by Benjamin Wills Newton as to why the system of Roman Catholicism is not the Antichrist referred to in Revelation chapter 13.
Attention to the detail of prophetic description is needful, not only for enabling us to form a correct estimate of the future, but also for guarding against that error which has for ages been the bane of truth, viz., the application of prophecy to wrong objects, and thereby the assertion of its accomplishment long before the real subjects of description have arisen. This error will always be fallen into when the specific facts of Scripture are neglected, and we satisfy ourselves with general resemblances merely, and remote analogies.
Indeed if we examine the specific descriptions of chapter 13 we shall find that Popery answers to none.
I. The beast with ten horns is distinctively a secular power: Popery is distinctively ecclesiastical.
II. The beast from the moment of his appearance in this chapter on to the end of his course has his ten horns crowned with diadems but Popery has never worn the diadems of the Roman world. Even ecclesiastically it has never reigned continuously over the Western division of the Roman empire, much less over the East and West together.
III. The beast had seven heads. When did all the ruling systems, commercial, educational, religious, military, political, &c., throughout the whole prophetic earth, fall under the exclusive control of Popery, or of any other system or individual, that yet has been?
IV. The beast when it first is seen in this chapter, has all its horns crowned. How could this be said of Popery?
V. The beast when it first appeared had one of its heads already wounded. How could this be interpreted of Popery?
VI. The beast was like a leopard. The leopard was the Grecian beast. Has not Popery been distinctively Latin, and not Greek, both in origin, territory, character, and everything else that can, under this head, be mentioned as a point of contrast? The influence of Popery has been remarkably obstructed in the Eastern part of the Roman empire, where Antichrist will be chiefly dominant.
VII. The whole prophetic earth is not only subject to, but wonders after and worships the beast. When has the Pope been thus worshipped?
VIII. The beast continues forty and two months. Is this the limit of the duration of Popery?
IX. Another, and he distinctly a minister of religious power, exercises the power of the ten-horned beast in his presence. When has the Pope ever had such a minister?
X. All, except those whose names are written in the Lamb’s
book of life, consent to worship the beast. In other words, every servant of Satan throughout the whole Roman world will unite himself to Antichrist. Have there never been any wicked men who have stood aloof from Popery?
XI. An image of the beast is made, endued with life, caused to speak, and to command that whosoever would not worship it, should neither buy, nor sell, but be put to death, and this throughout the whole extent of the Roman world. Where do we find anything in the history of Popery answering even remotely to this?
Taken from ‘Thoughts on the Apocalypse’ by B. W. Newton.
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